If you’re one of the unlucky girls that really struggles with period pain, know that you aren’t alone in the world. Many of us women are cuddled up on the couch for a few days each month, moaning slash screaming into the dark abyss and cursing our ovaries. If you’re wondering what helps cramps, or other menstrual type pain, we are here to share with you some tried and true tips and tricks, that will hopefully leave you with a bit of relief during your PMS time.
What is PMS?
PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome. PMS usually occurs the week leading up to, or during, your period. Symptoms can include irritability, cramping, bloating, headaches, fatigue, food cravings, and also depression. It’s estimated that 80% of women suffer from some form of premenstrual symptoms, and usually they are self-diagnosed and self-treated (meaning, over the counter medication will suffice.)
If your symptoms are bad, you can always go to the doctor and have a chat with them regarding your strong period and pain symptoms. You may be one of the select women that suffer from PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) or chronic hormone disorder, or possibly even endometriosis (which often gets diagnosed as PMS, but requires additional equipment like an ultrasound or X-ray/CT/MRI scans to fully diagnose.)
What helps cramps?
One of the biggest nuisances when it comes to PMS is cramping. It really hinders your daily life, and, frankly, it hurts like hell. Many different factors can help decrease or relieve menstrual cramps, and we’re going to assume that you know that you can always resort to a pain management pill such as ibuprofen or period-specific pills such as Midol or Pamprin. Heat is typically a good option, as it tends to calm your muscles and can provide some relief from the pain. You can either use a heating pad, or soak in a warm Epsom salt bath, or even try a Therma-Care patch, if you’re out and about. The heat will typically help dull the pain, but it doesn’t really do much to take it away.
What if your period cramps came with an off switch? Livia is a new device on the market that is changing how women cope with the pain associated with their period. Simply speaking, Livia is a small TENS unit meant and marketed specifically to women that experience bad PMS symptoms. TENS stands for Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and it uses a low voltage electrical currant that intercepts the signal of pain being sent to your brain.
Livia is a small, battery powered device that comes with a cute colored casing (and many other colors available to swap out) with a clip that can easily attach to the waistband of your pants. You simply take out the electrodes, place the sticky side in the zone where it hurts, and turn it on. You can easily control the pulse (it feels like a vibration) to be higher, or lower, on your Livia. Livia is a drug-free solution for your PMS pain, and won’t give you any short or long term side effects. You can use it on your most painful days, and then pack it away until next month. The adhesive will even stay good for a few days, so you don’t have to worry about blowing through tons of gel adhesive pads per month, either. And, unlike pain pills, the relief that you get from Livia is immediate.
It’s also super easy to give Livia a risk-free try to see if it works in person. Because feeling is believing, right? Livia offers a 120 day money back guarantee, and also comes with a 2 year warranty. They whole-heartedly stand behind their product, and know it works. Inside the popular Livia bundle, you’ll find:
- Livia Device
- Livia Flower Pads
- Classic Cover (in color of your choice)
- USB Charging Cable
- Travel Case
- 3 Month Supply of Gel Pads
Ditch the Chemicals:
Sometimes, thinking outside the box is exactly what you need to do when it comes to, ahem, your box. Coincidentally, ditching the box of tampons or pads has been a method that many ladies have turned to to help keep their cramps at bay. Did you know that legally, tampon and pad distributors are not required by law to disclose their list of ingredients, because they are considered “medical devices?” Basically, what it boils down to is a big toxic chemical soup that your body is exposed to for upwards to 40-50 hours per month, inside your most delicate parts. And, one sanitary pad has the same amount of plastic inside it as is equivalent to about four plastic bags. None of of would dare to hand over a sketchy cup to our kids that was laced with BPA, but are unknowingly inserting it into our vaginas.
“Plasticizing chemicals like BPA and BPS disrupt embryonic development. They’re linked to heart disease and cancer. Phthalates, which give paper tampon applicators a smooth finish, are known to dis-regulate gene expression, and DEHP may lead to multiple organ damage. Synthetics and plastic restrict air flow and trap heat and dampness, potentially promoting yeast and bacteria growth in your vaginal area. Besides crude oil plastics, conventional sanitary pads can also contain other potentially hazardous ingredients, such as odor neutralizers and fragrances.” (1)
Additionally, do you know that in order for these cotton materials to appear white, they use chlorine bleach which can release a dioxin, which the EPA admits is a public health threat, and says there is no “safe level” available. Dioxins are stored in fatty tissues, and even trace levels of dioxins found in women have lead to the following threats:
- Abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs
- Abnormal cell growth throughout the body
- Immune system suppression
- Hormonal and endocrine system disruption
Your trusty tampons or pads that you’ve been using since middle school may be the actual cause to your severe cramps, and switching to either an all-organic/natural tampon may be the best option for you. Unfortunately, these options are more pricey. Using a menstrual cup may be the best option for you, and, luckily, they are way more affordable, and the “greenest” option on the market. Once your initial purchase is complete, you simply boil them in between your cycles, and they can be used again. And, there are absolutely no chemicals in a menstrual cup, and you won’t ever risk getting TSS, either. A Blossom Cup is a great affordable option for someone to test out if using a cup is right for them. If you have a heavy period (often associated with heavy cramping) you may appreciate the Yuuki Cup, because it has a larger capacity and you won’t have to empty it as often as others. The Lily Cup is also a popular brand, and we love that it’s collapsible, so it can easily be tossed into a small purse or diaper bag.
So What Now?
Sometimes it’s okay to just on your big girl period panties and admit that you feel like hot garbage. We’ve all been there, and it may be your bodies way for signalling to you that you need a moment to slow down. Diet and exercise play a huge role in PMS symptoms, so make sure that you don’t slide off the healthy eating bandwagon too hard, and, as much as you may curse the process and your entire womanhood, don’t stop your exercise regiment, either. Take it easy, sure. But keep that blood pumping and make sure you drink a crap-ton of water (scientifically speaking, a “crap-ton” is equal to your body weight, divided in half, and switched to ounces. So, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should drink 75 oz of water daily.)
And, at the end of the day, use this downtime to praise the wonder of mother nature. Just kidding. We prefer to use it as a way to sneak in a few more episodes of our fave Netflix show, because, really, no partner should ever throw shade to a PMSing woman who has literally created their tiny humans with these organs. That’s just in poor taste. Netflix and Halo Top ice cream? Don’t mind if we do.
Since we’re on the topic of relaxing, we recently learned about these amazing blankets that are a serious couch-lounging game changer. Pedi Pocket is a blanket that is the cure for those of us who have the problem of having cold feet. Pedi Pocket is a 6′ tall fleece blanket that is long enough for anyone (fellow tall girls, holla!) and also has a spacious foot pocket on the end of it that wraps around your feet, to make a warm pocket of air for your tootsies and calves to stay toasty warm. We love how it’s also machine washable, and the perfect size to keep on your couch for those days that you need some added warmth. There are 10 different colors and prints available, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your home decor or personality, as well. We promise once you bring a Pedi Pocket home, your entire family will soon want their very own.
Make sure to also check out our article on: Female Problems? There’s An Herb For That.
Photo Credits: Memoirs Photography